Drafted: ROUND: 2 - Pick Number: 64 (DEN)
Draft Profile: BioBonitto was a four-star recruit by 247Sports and was named an Under Armour All-American and the No. 197th ranked overall recruit in the country by ESPN. Had a highly productive high school career - recorded over 140 tackles with 26.5 TFLs, 17.0 sacks, two interceptions, three fumble recoveries, and two forced fumbles. He was much in demand and chose Oklahoma over Alabama, Auburn, and Ohio State.
After redshirting his freshman year he started as a sophomore in 2019 and registered 43 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, and 3.5 sacks and also had an interception and four pass breakups.
It wasn't until 2020 that Bonitto really broke onto the national scene where he totaled 32 tackles (18 solo, 14 assists), with 10.5 tackles for loss (for 56 yards), 8.0 sacks (for 44 yards), two pass breakups and a team-high 10 QB hurries. This led to A first-team PFF and second-team AP All-American accolade.
Scouting Report: Strengths
- Top athletic skills that NFL defensive coordinators crave
- Excellent natural pass-rushing skills with speed to fly past bigger tackles
- Cover skills, in both man and zone, as well as his speed, quickness, and agility, are very good. Fearless, relentless, and fast. Covers a lot of ground on the field.
- Bonitto aligns as a 3-4 outside linebacker for the Sooners’ defense and is mainly used as a pass rusher coming off the edge
- Good closing speed with long arms to drag down quarterbacks and running backs.
- Shows a good ability to set a firm edge against the run and has good strength at the point of attack.
- Handles misdirection well with quick change-of-direction ability. Comes downhill quickly against the run when he has an open lane.
- Has a filled-out frame with good thickness. Plays at full speed at all times with an active motor and determined quickness in pursuit.
- Gets pressures on inside stunts and was too explosive for college guards to handle.
- Keeps feet moving after initial contact. Jumps inside as a counter to typical rush, but needs to show a larger variety of moves.
- Is a committed student with a great work ethic
Scouting Report: Weaknesses
- Not particularly powerful in the pass rush game and can struggle against top tackles
- Locates the ball but takes circuitous routes to go get to it. Should use power and long arms to take on and disengage from blocks. Inefficient with his angles
- Lacks pop and strength to anchor, though. Most effective, when uncovered inside and chasing stretch, plays to the sideline
- His lack of size, though, sometimes allows offensive linemen to push him around the arc.
- Is more of a pure pass rusher - not great in the run game
Scouting Report: SummaryBonitto may be considered a little bit of a tweener and not be able to play full-time on the line as a pass rusher due to his smaller size.
He should still be a very good edge rusher in the NFL as a pass-rush specialist, but it remains to be seen if he can be an every-down player in the NFL.
We're sure at least one pro team will ultimately fall in love with his pass rush skills and view him as a player who they can develop in the run game - and if this is the case he could easily be picked in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Nik Bonitto percentiles vs other Outside Linebacker's (NFL Combine historically - higher value represents better perfomance)
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